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This Bonus Season Is a Dud for London Bankers

  • 61% of Deutsche Bank staff complain after CEO slashed pay
  • U.S. firms still pay more than U.K. and European peers

Less than a quarter of London’s investment bankers were pleased with their 2016 bonuses, with staff at Deutsche Bank AG the most disgruntled after Chief Executive Officer John Cryan slashed discretionary compensation for many top traders and advisers. By a small margin, those at JPMorgan Chase & Co. were happiest.

Some 61 percent of the German bank’s employees were dissatisfied with their bonuses, followed by 52 percent at Credit Suisse Group AG and 50 percent at BNP Paribas SA, salary benchmarking company Emolument.com said in a statement, citing a survey of 1,640 people at 18 banks. At the other end of the scale, 30 percent of JPMorgan front-office workers were dissatisfied with their variable pay, and 28 percent admitted to being pleased.

In aggregate, 23 percent of bankers were happy with their bonuses.

European firms’ bankers in the City of London suffered a harsh year for payouts as they fell even further behind Wall Street in trading share, while Brexit has thrown the future of London as a financial center into doubt. As misconduct fines erased billions in profit last year, executives at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse responded by slashing jobs and giving many senior dealmakers zero bonus, or a “doughnut” in banker parlance.

Read More: European Bank Trading Slump Worsens

American banks once again paid better than their British or European counterparts, Emolument data show. A London-based vice-president at a U.S. firm got on average 235,000 pounds ($303,880) in total compensation, about 60,000 pounds more than a counterpart at a U.K.-based bank.

“High pay does not allay bankers’ frustration with their careers,” said Alice Leguay, co-founder of Emolument. “Banking is no longer perceived as a glamorous job, now highly scrutinized and regulated, with many shackled to it in order to fund their existing lifestyles while awaiting the right opportunity to switch to the hedge fund or private-equity sectors.”

Major European firms’ total share of revenue from trading stocks and bonds, which was 35 percent three years ago, dropped below 26 percent for a second straight quarter in the first three months of this year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence data.

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